19/11/2007

Peer Insists Quinn Murder Was IRA

A war of wars has developed between UUP peer, Lord John Laird and the government over the brutal murder of Cullyhanna man, Paul Quinn.

The Secretary of State has dismissed "speculation" about responsibility for the murder even though a paramilitary watchdog linked the killing to the IRA.

In the House of Commons the Secretary of State Shaun Woodward first said that the Irish Justice Minister had assured him that there was “no information at this stage that the killing had been authorised or carried out by any paramilitary grouping”.

However, Lord Laird later highlighted the contradiction between Mr Woodward and the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) whose spokesman, John Grieve said he believed the killers had IRA connections.
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“We do believe that those who were involved in the attack on him – in his brutal murder – included people who are members or former members or have associations with members or former members of the Provisional IRA,” Mr Grieve said.

A Northern Ireland Office spokeswoman, in response to Lord Laird, said: “We have no doubt that the IMC will make an assessment of responsibility for this murder in their next report.

“We do not, however, believe that speculative comments about responsibility are going to aid the police investigation or assist the prosecution of anyone brought to justice for this crime.”

But Lord Laird has since slammed Mr Woodward for “sleeping through the tea party”, adding: “The IMC, south Armagh residents and numerous commentators all believe PIRA was behind the murder of Paul Quinn.

“What is Mr Woodward saying? That 20 guys in total, eight or nine of them with surgical gloves, getaway cars and a getaway van were out for a walk on Saturday afternoon when they just decided to clip someone around the ear?”

Lord Laird has already named those he believed were responsible for the murder in the House of Lords under parliamentary privilege.

(BMcC)




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